Wine Club

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** Greetings,
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I am pleased to announce the second release of the Fratello’s Wine Club. These wines come from France, Italy and Argentina, and each is a different red varietal for you to enjoy. These wines all have different flavor profiles and I have enjoyed them all. The wine from Argentina, which is a Malbec, we currently offer on our wine list. The wines will be available starting on Friday evening, March 18th, and thereafter any day that you are available to pick them up. The cost for this release with tax is $124.57 except for one member who has not received his wine bag.

In choosing wines for the club I intend to have an open mind and palate, to a degree letting my wine reps point me in one direction or another. There will be times, however, when I will seek a specific wine, by vineyard or varietal. This is the case with our first wine from France, which is from Burgundy. I think Burgundy is among the most difficult wine regions to get a handle on. The vineyards in Burgundy are very fragmented, with an average size of just 18.5 acres. Growers of grapes often have parcels of land in several vineyards, and a vineyard in the hands of one owner is very rare. Very often grapes are grown by different growers and blended to achieve a desired characteristic, which is what a negociant does, or wines can be released by a specific vineyard. The labels on the bottles also vary, either by the vineyard name in a Grand Cru, such as La Tache and Romanee-Conti, by the name of a commune or village followed by the name of the vineyard in a Premier Cru, as in
Chambolle-Musigny, by the name of a commune or village, such as Meursault, or simply by “Bourgogne”. What is consistent, however, is that if you are drinking a red Burgundy you are drinking a Pinot Noir, and if you are drinking a white Burgundy you are drinking a Chardonnay. Burgundy is the ancestral home of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and there are records suggesting that wine was made here as far back as the Roman times of Julius Cesar and even before that by the Gauls. Burgundy is the northernmost area in Europe to produce great red wine, and the most important wine region in Burgundy is the Cote d’Or, which then is separated into the Cote de Beaune and a bit to the north the Cote de Nuits. Unfortunately wines from Burgundy tend to be expensive, and wines from the Cote de Nuits tend to be very expensive, making them very difficult if not impossible to fit into the parameters of our club. But I wanted you to taste what a Burgundy is, because the expression of Pinot Noir
from Burgundy is very different from a Pinot from California, or from Oregon, or from many of the places worldwide that make Pinot Noir.

This wine is from Domaine Xavier Monnot, a Monthelie Rouge, which is a village in the Cote d’Or, next to Auxey-Duresses and southwest of the city of Beaune. This wine hails from a family wine making heritage dating back to 1723, and they use organic and biodynamic farming principals with low yields and they harvest by hand. It has lovely cherry flavor running through it, especially in the nose, with light tannins and acidity with a firm finish. There is an elegance to this wine. and although I think it pairs well with anything grilled, especially salmon or chicken, it probably would be lost against a very heavy dish such as a steak. Mushrooms also work well with this wine. I think it provides a sense of what a Burgundy is, which is what I was going after. Enjoy!

The second wine is from Italy, Inferi, a Montepulciano D’Abruzzo by Marramiero. Abruzzo is a region of Italy, like Tuscany, which borders the Adriatic Sea to the southeast of Rome. The grape in this wine is 100% Montepulciano, which is not to be confused with the town in Tuscany and the wine produced in that area, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. This grape needs the heat of southern Italy to ripen properly, and this wine is medium to full bodied with excellent color and nose. It is very good with pasta and mushrooms, beef and game, mature cheeses and salami. The label is also very interesting, based on Dante’s Inferno.

The third wine is a Malbec from Argentina, an Estate Malbec from Colome. Malbec from Argentina is very different from Malbec from France, which like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is its ancestral home. I think what the planting of Malbec in Argentina has shown is that this varietal is best when grown at higher altitudes, and Argentina has among the highest altitude vineyards in the world. Colome, which is owned by the Hess Family, claims to be the highest vineyard in the world. I think it is fair to say that a high altitude vineyard in California would be in the 2800 foot range, but at Colome their vineyards go up to 8500 feet and beyond. Mendoza is the region most associated with Argentine Malbec, but Colome is in the Salta province to the north, near Boliva. The climate is semi-arid, a desert, and the high altitude provides more sun but less UV protection to the grapes, rendering them with a thicker and darker skin, which results in a wine of great intensity, good color, aroma
and flavor. The wine is deep colored with nice tannins, a great nose and smell. There is abundant fruit but not a fruit bomb like some Mendoza Malbecs, and there is a softness and pepper taste in the finish. We offer this wine on our wine list, and this is the most recent vintage.

I hope you enjoy these wines. Some you may like better than others, such goes the territory with wines, but it is also what makes drinking wine so much fun. Enjoy!
Ciao

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